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Govt to look into protecting albinos - PM

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LOBAMBA – Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini assured senators that government would look into protecting people with albinism.

He said this from the backdrop of the heinous murder of an 11-year-old girl with albinism almost a year ago in the Manzini region, and also recent South African media reports that Swazis relied on ritual killings of people with albinism to succeed in parliamentary elections.

This was the background cited by Senator David Matse, the mover of the motion where the PM had to compile a report detailing the measures that have been put together to protect people with albinism following shocking crimes perpetuated against them in the country. This report is expected to be presented within the next 21 days.


The senator felt that even though it was about a year since the killing of the girl, it appeared that government had not done much about it beyond condemning the crime itself. The police had not arrested the perpetrator and therefore an impression that one can commit such a crime and remain scot-free.
“In an African country there were 63 cases of albino killing and after two years only one conviction. In another there were 14 cases and after two years 12 cases made it to court. So some justice systems are slow and some fast,” submitted Matse.

He even provided the PM with various options that government could use to ensure the protection of people with albinism. These included cracking down on those who practised witchcraft, sealing albinos’ graves to avoid illegal exhumation, educational campaigns to dispel myths and even appointing an albino into Parliament for people to gain more confidence in them.

Meanwhile the PM recognised the importance of the matter and said ever since government cautioned about albino killings it had been quiet.


“No one has been caught yet, but the police files have not been closed. We will look at the suggestions made although the one about grave sealing with cement may require existing evidence that there was tampering of a grave of a person with albinism,” said Dlamini.

He emphasised that ritual killing of people with albinism or any other did not work in assuring one a place in Parliament. He said the report required by the Senate would be prepared.  
Meanwhile, Musa Hlophe from the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations said albinos should not be given special protection as that would be discriminating them.

“Instead, there should be public campaigns demystifying that albino or any other ritual killing cannot make one rich or win elections. There is just no special luck in ritual killing,” said Hlophe.

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